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This Thirsty Concrete Can ‘Drink’ 880 Gallons of Water Per Minute

posted: 09/28/15
by: Danny Clemens
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Flash flooding is more dangerous than you might think: experts warn that a mere six inches of fast-moving water can knock you off of your feet. It's no wonder, then, that flash flooding is routinely one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths in the United States.

A British firm recently unveiled technology that could help mitigate some of the dangers of flooding, especially on roadways. Designed by sustainable building company Tarmac, Topmix Permeable is an absorptive concrete pavement capable of soaking up more than 800 gallons of water each minute:

Topmix can help rapidly remove water from roadways, preventing the potentially dangerous buildup of standing water. As it is absorbed, stormwater is filtered through a porous layer of pebbles, removing petroleum hydrocarbons and other pollutants commonly found on roadways before the water is ultimately returned to the water table.

"Being able to control and actively manage the drainage of rainwater from the developed landscape significantly reduces the risk of surface water flooding, protecting both the natural and built environment," the company explains on its website.

Interestingly, Topmix can also help mitigate the urban Heat Island Effect: because of the pores within its structure, the pavement cannot retain as much heat as traditional asphalt. Furthermore, water evaporating from the pavement's pores can have a cooling effect on the immediate area.

The technology isn't quite ready for wide-scale deployment. Tarmac notes that the permeable surface is prone to damage from freezing water and therefore not suitable for use in subzero temperatures. Furthermore, the product is not suitable for use on high-volume roadways that bear heavy loads, although it can be used on shoulder lanes, residential streets, pedestrian and bike paths and parking lots.

H/T Tech Insider

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